The Origin Story

We met in the Fall of 2011 during our first semester at Tulane and immediately bonded over our northeastern roots and a desire to find a group of friends we could be ourselves around. During our four years at Tulane, we became best friends, roommates, classmates, travel companions, and partners in crime.

By the time we graduated in 2015, we knew New Orleans was our home. We found jobs, or created them for ourselves. Together, we moved to the Irish Channel, figured out how to do our taxes, and learned which bars were no longer acceptable to go to as post-grads. We were adults in New Orleans and life was good!

In November 2016, things became less good. In early November, we phone banked for Hillary Clinton and planned how we would celebrate the country’s first female president. Y’all know how that story goes.

In the weeks following the election, we developed a shared anxious energy. Looking back, we can identify those feelings as a sense of helplessness and a general lack of direction or fulfillment from our day jobs. But at that point, it was an unidentifiable seed that wouldn’t grow into something tangible for a good 10 months. In the meantime, we volunteered, donated, marched, and retweeted. We wore shirts with slogans like “The Future is Female” and bought keychains that loudly proclaimed “Girls Doing Whatever the Fuck They Want in 2017.”

The kick in the ass we so desperately needed came the following September. Maddy was doing digital media work for a Royal Street gallery and had developed a close relationship with the gallery director, Jamie. Jamie had the idea to invite in guest curators to the gallery.  Jamie’s list was a female centric show and she asked Maddy to spearhead it. Maddy agreed on one condition -- “that my best friend is on board.” The anxiety and hopelessness that had manifested over the past year finally found its outlet. Femaissance was born.

 

From the beginning, Femaissance was more than an art show. It was an exhibition and a community space and then, all of a sudden, it was a movement. By the time we opened our first show in November 2017, it was clear that this was going to be bigger than either of us could have imagined.

When the first iteration of Femaissance wrapped in December we recharged, regrouped and began planning our sophomore show for the spring. Femaissance: Primavera was a six-week curation featuring 50+ female artists. We rode the wave of both festival season as we generated $16K in revenue for the host gallery and were recognized by Vogue, Man Repeller, Pelican Bomb, Offbeat and WGNO.

 

CREATED BY AND FOR THE WOMXN OF NEW ORLEANS